What Should Older Adults Know Before Getting Divorced?

An older adult's eyes.

As you contemplate getting divorced later in life, the transition looks a lot different. You will have to make wills and estate plans for shared assets, retirement funds, pensions, and any liabilities. Also ensure a fair distribution of assets, so you and your spouse can live the remaining years comfortably. At Sterling Law in Brampton we work with many older clients seeking divorce and hope to answer some of your questions through this blog. 

Here are 8 things you should know before getting divorced as an older adult: 

1. Retirement Plans

For many older adults, retirement plans take the centre stage in divorce discussions. Understanding how your retirement savings will be divided is vital. In most cases, these funds accumulated during your marriage are considered marital property and will be subject to equal division. We’ll need to evaluate the specifics of your retirement accounts to strategize the best approach for partitioning these assets.

2. Keep Alimony in Mind 

Alimony, or spousal support, is another key aspect often encountered in divorces among older adults. Factors such as the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, and each spouse’s economic circumstances post-divorce are taken into account. It is quite common that one partner may have been out of the workforce for an extended period and would need to secure alimony to maintain a reasonable standard of living. 

3. Legal and Health Insurance Changes

Your separation agreement will include detailed information on how to address how your medical needs post divorce. If you were previously dependent on your spouse’s health benefits, you will need to buy a coverage plan of your own. Sadly, you might not get the same benefits and costs might be too high because of your age. 

4. Updating Your Estate Plan

As we progress with your divorce, it’s also a good time to review and update your estate plan. This includes your will, any trusts, and beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. It is likely that your estate plans will need major changes to accommodate your spouse’s share. 

hands of three generations placed on a wooden table

5. Keep Adult Children and Grandchildren in the Loop 

Although child custody is not typically a direct issue for older adults, the emotional impact of a divorce can still impact adult children and grandchildren. You might have kids with special needs, for whom you will need a contingency plan. If you have kids who are unmarried and you’d like to pay for their weddings or education, make sure to include that in your separation agreement as well. 

Be communicative about the divorce and reassure them that your family dynamics won’t change because of it. You may also use this opportunity to plan future inheritance of family business, if you have any. 

6. Choosing the Right Legal Approach

When considering divorce, choose a legal approach that’s cooperative and amicable. Give mediation and arbitration a try before choosing to go the traditional litigation route. 

Both alternatives are less costly and often quicker than court proceedings. They can help you resolve complex financial issues if both parties are willing to talk, compromise, and share the same end goals. 

7. Emotional and Psychological Adjustments

You might have spent almost a lifetime with this person or just the last few years. That doesn’t mean the things you feel emotionally and psychologically should be ignored. Get support through counselling or divorce support groups where you can talk about your feelings openly and find a resolution. You’ll also make new friends, who are in similar stages of life and take care of each other. 

8. Moving Forward with Life

Life doesn’t stop after a divorce and this is the perfect opportunity to start a chapter of your life with confidence and security. Go do things that you always wanted to but couldn’t because of your commitment to your spouse and kids. Any assets you receive at separation should be invested wisely, so you can enjoy your hard earned money for a comfortable life. 

As a divorce law firm in Brampton, our role is to guide you through this process and make sure you are fully informed and feel supported every step of the way.

If you have any further questions or if there’s anything specific you’d like to discuss more, please reach out to us for a consultation.

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